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TikTok Banned in the US: What a Ban Would Actually Mean for Creators

Mar 20, 2024

Social Media Marketing News

TikTok Banned in the US: What a Ban Would Actually Mean for Creators

The rumoured TikTok ban in the United States has been haunting content creators and users alike for several years now. 

Initially gaining traction in 2020, the belief that a TikTok ban was imminent has been a hot topic of conversation ever since. With 170 million Americans using TikTok – nearly half the population – a TikTok ban would be massive in the US. 

Since the pandemic, many citizens have taken to TikTok in order to create a livelihood. From starting small businesses, using the platform as a promotional tool, or starting a career as a social influencer or TikTok creator, the app is far more than just a social media tool for millions of people. 

Now, the TikTok ban nightmare is back with a vengeance. A bill that would force TikTok owner ByteDance to either divest from the app or have it removed from US app stores, is currently on its way to being passed by the US senate; and this time, it feels real. 

What would a TikTok ban mean for users and creators alike? Could the popular app really be on its way out the door? 

Let’s dive in. 

TIKTOK BANNED IN THE US: THE BACKSTORY

The United States has taken a step further to banning the Chinese owned app TikTok this month, with the House of Representatives passing the Protecting Americans from Foreign Adversary Controlled Applications Act. 

The bill calls for ByteDance to divest from TikTok. If the Chinese company does not comply, then TikTok will be removed from US app stores. The bill passed with incredible support from both parties, receiving 65 votes against and 352 in favour. 

Why TikTok? Those for the bill believe that the app gives the Chinese government access to American users’ data and influences the country’s citizens with its “addictive algorithm”. The bill has support from the White House, with Joe Biden claiming he will sign it if it passes through Congress. 

@nbcnews

BREAKINGNEWS: The House voted 352-65 to pass legislation that could ban #TikTok in the U.S. Both #Democrats and #Republicans in the House say the legislation is needed, but the bill faces an uncertain fate in the Senate. President #Biden has said that if the bill reaches his desk, he will sign it into law.

♬ original sound – nbcnews

Ultimately, the fight for getting TikTok banned in the US is not really about TikTok at all. It is about fears over American security. 

In 2022, the director of the FBI Christopher Wray, announced to Congress that TikTok “is a tool that is ultimately within the control of the Chinese government – and it, to me, screams out with national security concerns “.

As such, American politicians have taken to supporting getting TikTok banned in the US from the standpoint of protecting US citizens’ data from the Chinese government. Specifically, the Chinese Communist Party. 

@msnbc

After the House passed legislation on Wednesday that could ban TikTok in the United States, NBC News’ Brian Cheung breaks down what this means for the popular video-sharing app. #fyp #foryou #politicaltiktok #politics #tiktok #tiktokban

♬ original sound – MSNBC

If the bill is successful in getting TikTok banned in the US, many apps will become in danger of being abolished as well. Popular Chinese apps such as Temy and Shein, could be on their way out if TikTok gets the boot. In fact, in 2020, Grindr suffered a similar fate, with the Chinese owner of the app being forced to sell for $600 million due to security concerns. 

Yet, all is not lost. 

The bill still has quite a ways to go before it gets TikTok banned in the US, as well as many hurdles along the way. Hurdles such as the revival RESTRICT Act currently moving through the system, which would give the department of commerce the power to directly ban platforms owned by foreign adversaries. On top of this, there is a large chance that the bill will be delayed until after the November elections in the US. 

Even if the bill manages to move through all these hurdles, ByteDance reserves the right to challenge a ban in US courts. Whether it will get to this point though, is questionable. Many politicians believe that ByteDance will simply divest from TikTok; yet whether this is merely wishful thinking, given that many of them profit off of the platform, is yet to be seen. 

TIKTOK BANNED IN THE US: PUBLIC RECEPTION

So far, the public reaction to getting TikTok banned in the US has been overwhelmingly negative. 

Users and creators alike have been not only expressing their disdain and fear for the decision online, but have also taken to protesting the ban in person. 

Several creators banded together to speak out against getting TikTok banned in the US using a press conference to emphasise that removing TikTok would be detrimental to the small businesses that call it home. 

@msnbc

TikTok creators speaking out against the bill that could ban TikTok in the United States. The House voted Wednesday to pass the legislation and the bill now heads to the Senate. #news #TikTok #TikTokBan #Congress #Politics

♬ original sound – MSNBC

 

Popular content creator Darla Eliza posted a lengthy video outlining what she claims are the real reasons the app is getting banned. The video details how her own personal brand will be affected greatly by the loss of TikTok, and many other creators have taken to expressing their agreement with her point of view. 

@darlaeliza

why tiktok is getting banned… fr.

♬ original sound – ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

 

Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr has gained substantial traction on TikTok with his take on the ban. Through a short video, the politician claims that this would not be the first time that Americans lose their rights under the false pretence of national security risks. 

@teamkennedy2024

I want you to remember that every right the government has ever taken away was removed under the false pretense of national security. Remember that when members of Congress give Joe Biden the power to remove an app from your phone. #kennedy24 #rfkjr

♬ original sound – Robert F. Kennedy Jr

TIKTOK GETTING BANNED IN THE US: POSSIBLE IMPACTS

The widespread, severe impact that getting TikTok banned in the US would have on the American population cannot be understated. 

TikTok is not merely a social media platform. It is where many small businesses have started, where large businesses put the majority of their marketing efforts, and where politicians gain support. 

On top of this, for many young users, TikTok is a significant source of news. Whilst Americans are decreasingly using other social media platforms to get their news, they have been steadily using TikTok more and more for this purpose. 

As a result of the pandemic, hundreds of Americans lost their jobs, or were left stuck at home in limbo with no income. To combat this, they took to TikTok. They created businesses that ran right out of their living rooms. From content creators to jewellery makers, TikTok became a hub of small business owners, finding a way to stay afloat in precarious times. 

@ratedlaur

brb moving to canada! #tiktokban #bantiktok #bantiktokinamerica #grwm #grwmroutine #grwmrant #grwmmakeup #grwmmakeup

♬ original sound – lauren ramos

For politicians, getting TikTok banned in the US  could have a dramatic effect on their campaign strategies. From President Joe Biden to Robert F Kennedy Jr, politicians across the US use TikTok to build a personal connection with their audience. The platform’s short, front-facing videos are perfect for politicians seeking to mobilise voters. 

In fact, there is a large number of users on TikTok who believe that Robert F Kennedy Jr’s success on the platform is what has spurred the Democratic and Republican parties TikTok banned in the US; as this would allow them a greater chance at winning the election. 

Yet, this is nothing compared to the impact getting TikTok banned in the US could have on marketing. 

@jddreacts

#duet @TikTok Did you know about the new TikTok ban USA in 2024 ? This video is the TikTok ban explained. tiktok ban 2024 TikTok ban USA tiktok ban update tiktok ban explained #capcut #tiktokban #tiktokbanusa #tiktokban2024

♬ original sound – JDReacts

Since its inception, TikTok has been a favourite of marketers due to its extremely large audience and reach with a wide variety of demographics. Going viral on the platform allows brands the opportunity to achieve extremely high rates of visibility at a low cost, and thus has become a key part of many marketing strategies across America. 

Getting TikTok banned in the US would force brands to adjust their marketing strategies, and find alternative routes to TikTok that would likely be half as effective. Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram simply do not hold the unique consumption patterns and communities that TikTok is famous for. 

On top of this, a TikTok ban would restructure the digital ecosystem. It is quite plausible that a ban on TikTok would lead to many other apps popping up, attempting to fill the power vacuum left behind by its absence. In this instance, brands could be forced to spread themselves across multiple platforms, just to get the same impact that TikTok was providing them. 

Moreover, it is unlikely that brands will enjoy being forced to completely relearn new apps, if any become as popular and successful as TikTok has become.

TIKTOK BANNED IN THE US: WHERE TO NEXT?

@justashali

?I would love to hear your ideas! Please share! If you have questions or need help creating or sharing your other socials, drop a comment or send a message.? #keeptiktok #saveourcommunity

♬ Calm (Lofi) – Faneo sound

Ultimately, it is too early to tell whether the White House will follow through on its word and ban TikTok. 

For users, there is little to do but sit and wait. Many creators have taken to urging their followers to follow them on all their accounts, not merely just TikTok; creating a safety net for them to fall onto if the ban follows through. 

For brands, staying as informed as possible is key. The situation is likely to change quite quickly, so staying on top of the latest updates is essential. On top of this, be sure to run a social media audit, so as to gain a proper understanding of what your TikTok marketing is achieving in comparison to other platforms. Start to brainstorm how you would make up for this loss if the platform is banned; preparation is paramount. 

It goes without saying that a TikTok ban would have major repercussions. The platform’s popularity has made it a key piece of millions of peoples lives, whether for entertainment, revenue, or promotion. 

Yet aside from this, a ban would cause a major rift to form between the American people and their government. A rift, that when combined with the many other socio-political issues US citizens are currently facing, could lead to far more than just bored Gen Z’s staring at their phones.

Our influencer marketing agency and social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to find industry insights, visit our influencer marketing and social media blogs.

@ Socially Powerful

Author

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Ella Proctor

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